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College cuts;Letter

We view with concern any attempt to cut funding to the further education service. It is a perverse logic which suggests that an improved service can continue to be provided to an increasing number of students by a steadily reducing number of lecturers working with fewer materials and resources than in previous years.

When cuts are applied to the smaller colleges which run specialist classes in fairly narrow fields of study, it becomes obvious that course provision will have to be reduced to those areas, as class sizes are usually smaller than the norm in terms of staffstudent ratios, and are therefore uneconomic.

The result of this is to force prospective students to travel great distances, sometimes out of Scotland, in order to obtain the necessary qualifications they require in their careers.

The new method of funding based on SUMs (student units of management) discriminates against smaller colleges as a higher proportion of their grant-in-aid needs to be allocated to fixed costs, resulting in further cuts in "uneconomic" courses even though they may be highly desirable within the local community.

ERIC SMITH

General secretary Scottish Further and Higher Education Association Glasgow

Letters should be addressed to 37 George Street, Edinburgh EH2 2HN. Telephone 0131 220 1100; fax 0131 220 1616.

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